Tony Award Winner, Baltimore Native André De Shields To Get Key To The City at Baltimore City Hall on August 19

On Monday, August 19, 2019, Baltimore native André De Shields will be presented with a Key to the City, two months after receiving his first Tony Award for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” for his turn as Hermes in Anais Mitchell’s Hadestown, currently playing to sold-out houses at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young will present De Shields with the Key to the City and a mayoral salute in the Rotunda at Baltimore City Hall at 11:00 A.M. in an event open to the pubic. It will be streamed live on FLive on CharmTVBaltimore.

De Shields acknowledged his Baltimore roots during his acceptance speech at the Tony Awards.

“Baltimore, Maryland are you in the house?” he asked. “I hope you are watching at home because I am making good on my promise that I would come to New York and become someone you’d be proud to call your native son.”

De Shields is a graduate of Baltimore City College, a proud member of the class of 1964 and a member of the City College Hall of Fame.

In a career spanning fifty years, André De Shields has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director and educator. Mr. De Shields is the triple crown winner of the 2019 Awards Season, having won the prestigious Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards in the category of Best Actor in a Featured Role for his performance as Hermes, Messenger To the Gods in Hadestown, which won as Best Musical. His other numerous accolades include the 2019 Actors’ Equity Foundation’s Richard Seff Award, honoring best performances by a veteran male and female actor, the 2019 Harlem Pride 50 Award, the 2018 Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award, the 2007 Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, and eight AUDELCO Awards for Outstanding Performance, Direction and Choreography. He continues to be consistently acclaimed for his show stopping performances in four legendary Broadway musicals: The Full Monty (Tony Nomination), Play On! (Tony Nomination), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award) and The Wiz (Title Role). Mr. De Shields is proud a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA and SDC. www.andredeshields.com

Inside the HALF TIME Cast Album CD Signing with André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Lillias White, Haven Burton, Matthew Sklar, Bob Martin, Nancy Ticotin and producer Dori Berinstein

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Level Forward Will Be Honored At ACLU/NYCLU’s ‘Broadway Stands Up For Freedom’ on October 28

Celia Keenan-Bolger. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award-winning actress Celia Keenan-Bolger (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD) and Level Forward, the Tony Award-winning producers of the current revival of OKLAHOMA!, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME and the upcoming Broadway musical JAGGED LITTLE PILL, will be honored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). They will join a star-studded lineup at the NYCLU and ACLU’s 17th annual Broadway Stands Up For Freedom concert on Monday, October 28 at 7:30 PM at the Town Hall (123 W. 44 St.) in Manhattan.

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Amber Gray, Rachel Chavkin and Anaïs Mitchell at the Outer Critics Circle Awards at Sardi’s in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Rachel Chavkin – the Tony Award-winning director of HADESTOWN – directs this year’s event, which is themed My Body, My Business, and celebrates the power and courage of people fighting for the reproductive rights and bodily integrity of women and trans people. The evening will feature performances and appearances by Broadway performers and inspiring activists who stand up for freedom and civil liberties for all.

“Now, more than ever, we must come together as a community to fight for the rights of women and trans people, especially those most marginalized because of their race, class, disability, or immigration status,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “Art has always been a powerful cornerstone of social justice movements, and this year’s concert will continue the tradition of using music to bring people together, celebrate our victories, and inspire us for the fights ahead.”

Ms. Keenan-Bolger will be the first recipient of the newly re-named Michael Friedman Freedom Award. As a founding member of the Broadway Stands Up For Freedom planning committee, she has been one of the most active contributors over the years. The NYCLU and ACLU are honoring Celia for living a life and pursuing a career dedicated to social justice. She uses her talent and voice to educate, create dialogue, and catalyze social change both on stage and off. This commitment has shown through in her representation of Scout in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD on Broadway, for which she received a Tony Award in 2019.

The NYCLU and the ACLU are also honoring Adrienne Becker, Abigail Disney, Rachel Gould, Eva Price and Angie Wang from Level Forward-a female-led entertainment company, producing outstanding works on Broadway, as well as other mediums. Their commitment to projects spearheaded by female creatives and people of color challenges and inspires all of us to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Additionally, their efforts to level the playing field through innovative revenue sharing partnerships with nonprofits has the power to transform the industry.

Broadway Stands Up For Freedom is co-founded by Donna Lieberman, Liana Stampur and Erich Bergen. Additional performers and speakers will be announced at a later date.

The event this year is executive produced by Robb Nanus and Rachel Sussman.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.broadwaystandsup.com. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the NYCLU’s and ACLU’s missions to promote and protect the civil rights and liberties in New York and across the country. VIP tickets ($250/500/1000) and regular admission tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com and through www.thetownhall.org, or in person at the Town Hall box office. To purchase sponsorship packages, please visit www.nyclu.org or www.broadwaystandsup.com.

Joshua Turchin’s THE PERFECT FIT Celebrates Opening Night at The Green Fig

Standing: Jenny Mollet, Malcolm Durning, Daniel Dunlow, Areo Keller, Julia Haubner, J.R. Bruno, Natalie Venetia Belcon. Seated: Carly Gendell, Carlos Carreras, Grace DeAmicis, Joshua Turchin, Courtney Faith Mormino, Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Swayam Bhatia, Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang

Perfectly Theatrical, LLC is presenting the world premiere of The Perfect Fit, a new family musical featuring book, music and lyrics by twelve-year-old Joshua Turchin (The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film, Forbidden Broadway Salutes Carol Channing, A Christmas Story National Tour, TrevorLive, The Pill), as a staged developmental production in the Rave Theater Festival, August 11 – 23. The soldout production opened on August 11 and the cast and creative team celebrated their opening night at The Green Fig.

Director Garth Kravits (center) with THE PERFECT FIT cast members Ian Saraceni, Grace DeAmicis, Zoe Manarel, Courtney Faith Mormino, Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras, Avelina Sanchez, Swayam Bhatia, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Broadway veteran Garth Kravits (Drowsy Chaperone, Gettin’ the Band Back Together), The Perfect Fit has performances at the Teatro LaTea Theater, at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor through August 23.

THE PERFECT FIT Director Garth Kravits and Creator Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to Turchin, the cast of The Perfect Fit includes Natalie Venetia Belcon (Rent, Avenue Q, Matilda, Once On This Island  Broadway National Tour), Julia Haubner (Les Miserables), Swayam Bhatia (“Really Rosie,” “Succession” (HBO), J.R. Bruno (West Side Story, Book of Mormon), Carlos Orlando Carreras (On Your Feet Broadway National Tour), Grace DeAmicis (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Daniel Dunlow (Finian’s Rainbow-Irish Repertory Theatre, The Songs of Lerner and Loewe), Malcolm Durning, Carly Gendell (School of Rock), Areo Keller, Zoe Manarel (Matilda, The Dangerous Book for Boys, An American Girl Story: Friends for Life), Jenny Mollet (The Color Purple), Courtney Faith Mormino, Avelina Sanchez (Corner of Bitter and Sweet) and Ian Saraceni (The King and I, Matilda).

Zoe Manarel plays Alexandra. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit follows Alexandra, an ambitious teen actor with a powerful voice who grows concerned that she is getting too old to play a child and too young to play an adult. While auditioning for a musical, Alexandra is sabotaged by a vindictive stage parent who would do anything for her daughter to succeed. Through the love and support of her mom, sister and friends, she learns how to move past the experience. The Perfect Fit spotlights that hard work often includes twists & turn and ups & downs, but rewards in unexpected ways.

Standing: Nina Luther, Ritchard Druther, Jenny Mollet, Daniel Dunlow, Anna Noble, Garth Kravits, J.R. Bruno, Areo Keller, Julia Haubner, Dwayne Brown, Jeremy Bailey-Smith, Jason Turchin, Lia Chang, Kira Turchin, Shaina Turchin. Seated: Carly Gendell, Carlos Carreras, Grace DeAmicis, Courtney Faith Mormino, Joshua Turchin, Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Swayam Bhatia, Zoe Manarel. Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The Perfect Fit features choreography by Anna Noble (Carousel, The Flamingo Kid, After Midnight) and associate choreographer Dwayne Brown, Stage Management by Ritchard Druther (Heathers, A Christmas Story National Tour, Radio City Christmas Spectacular), scenic/costume design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith; sound design by Nina Luther, lighting design by Xavier Boyer and casting by Arnold J. Mungioli, CSA, Mungioli Theatricals, Inc. The Music Director is Steven Cuevas (Once On This Island, Anastasia, Kinky Boots); Music Supervisor is Eric Fotre Leach (Come From Away); Vocal Supervisor is Julia Mendelsohn.

Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Remaining performances of The Perfect Fit are on Sunday 8/18 at 1:30pm; Monday 8/19 at 4pm; Friday 8/23 at 7pm. The running time is approximately 140 minutes with no intermission. The show is recommended for children 4 and older. Tickets are $25-$35 and can be purchased online. The production is currently sold-out but you can email TPFwaitlist@gmail.com to be put on the waitlist.

THE PERFECT FIT cast members Ian Saraceni, Grace DeAmicis, Zoe Manarel, Courtney Faith Mormino, Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras, Avelina Sanchez, Swayam Bhatia, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit is produced by Perfectly Theatrical, LLC, whose team has invested in Hadestown, Be More Chill, The Secret Garden, On The Town, Rock Of Ages UK, Tuck Everlasting, On Your Feet UK, and more.

THE PERFECT FIT Director Garth Kravits, Creator Joshua Turchin and Music Director Steven Cuevas. Photo by Lia Chang
THE PERFECT FIT Director Garth Kravits and Music Director Steven Cuevas. Photo by Lia Chang
Jason Turchin, Joshua Turchin, Kira Turchin and Shaina Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Lainie Sakakura, Avelina Sanchez, Isabella Sanchez and Alex Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Garth Kravits, Music Director Steven Cuevas, Sound Designer Nina Luther and Costume Designer Jeremy Bailey-Smith. Photo by Lia Chang
Choreographer Anna Noble and Associate Choreographer Dwayne Brown. Photo by Lia Chang
Preston Ridge, Joshua Turchin, Richard Ridge and Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Courtney Faith Mormino, Carly Gendell, Swayam Bhatia, Anna Noble, Carlos Carreras, Joshua Turchin, Avelina Sanchez, Grace DeAmicis, Dwayne Brown and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Richard Ridge, Daniel Dunlow and Preston Ridge. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Lia Chang, Swayam Bhatia, Ian Saraceni, Zoe Manarel. Photo by Garth Kravits
Avelina Sanchez, Carlos Carreras, Ian Saraceni, Courtney Mormino, Grace DeAmicis. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Courtney Mormino, Carlos Carreras, Ian Saraceni. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia and Grace DeAmicis. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Jenny Mollet and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel Dunlow and J.R. Bruno. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin and Grace DeAmicis. Photo by Lia Chang
Julia Haubner. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Carlos Carreras, J.R. Bruno and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Areo Keller, Jenny Mollet, Garth Kravits and J.R. Bruno. Photo by Lia Chang
Associate Choreographer Dwayne Brown. Photo by Lia Chang
Cast members from HAMILTON came to say hello- Ian Saraceni, Marc delaCruz, Zoe Manarel, Carlos Carreras, Avelina Sanchez, Courtney Mormino, Shaina Turchin, Joshua Turchin, Joanna Jones, Grace DeAmicis, Anothony Kee Medina, Terrance Spencer and Justice Moore. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits, Carlos Carreras, HAMILTON’s Marc delaCruz and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
HAMILTON’s Marc delaCruz, Joshua Turchin and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang
HAMILTON’s Marc delaCruz visits with THE PERFECT FIT cast. Photo by Lia Chang
HAMILTON’s Marc delaCruz, Terrance Spencer, Joanna Jones, Anthony Lee Medina and Justice Moore visit with THE PERFECT FIT creator Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Lainie Sakakura and Kira Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Carlos Carreras. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni. Photo by Lia Chang
Ellis Gage and Jenny Mollet. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel Dunlow. Photo by Lia Chang
Lainie Sakakura, Lia Chang and Paul Fujimoto. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Inside the HALF TIME Cast Album CD Signing with André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Lillias White, Haven Burton, Matthew Sklar, Bob Martin, Nancy Ticotin and Producer Dori Berinstein

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Half Time‘s André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Lillias White, Haven Burton, Matthew Sklar, Bob Martin, Nancy Ticotin, producer Dori Berinstein and co-producer Kimberlee Garris had a lovely reunion at Theatre Circle in celebration of the release of their Original Cast Recording and to sign CDs for fans on August 14, 2019. The Original Cast Recording is dedicated to the memory of the late Georgia Engel, who passed away in April 2019. The production of Half Time marked her final performance.

Dori Berinstein, André De Shields and Georgia Engel at the opening night party of Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of HALF TIME on June 12, 2018. Photo by Lia Chang

They were joined by Original NETSational Sr. Dancers Betsy Walkup and Deana Schwartz. Mr. De Shields strolled in after his matinee of Hadestown and as he was leaving for his evening performance, Ms. White arrived to the delight of adoring fans.

Seated: Nancy Ticotin, Haven Burton, Donna McKechnie. Standing: Original NETSational Sr. Dancers Betsy Walkup and Deana Schwartz, Bob Martin, Matthew Sklar, Dori Berinstein, André De Shields, Kimberlee Garris. Photo by Lia Chang

Released by The Sony Masterworks Broadway label on August 2, Half Time features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, additional music by Ester Dean and some of the last songs written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away during the show’s early gestation.

Seated: Nancy Ticotin, Haven Burton, Donna McKechnie. Standing: Original NETSational Sr. Dancer Betsy Walkup Bob Martin, Producer Dori Berinstein, Matthew Sklar, Original NETSational Sr. Dancer Deana Schwartz. Photo by Lia Chang

The album also features a who’s who of Broadway talent, including five-time Emmy Award-nominated actress Georgia Engel (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White (The Life, “Sesame Street”), Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) and 2019 Tony Award winner and Emmy Award winner André De Shields (The Wiz, The Full Monty, Play On!, Ain’t Misbehavin’), who most recently won his Tony for his role in Hadestown.

Lillias White and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Produced by Scott M. Riesett (Ain’t Too Proud, The Prom) and Matthew Sklar, the album features music from the Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin-written musical, which made its 2018 debut at Paper Mill Playhouse and tells the uplifting true story of ten New Jersey seniors with extraordinary dreams. Making its premiere is a fan-favorite number from the musical entitled “New Point of View.”

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

The cast also includes Haven Burton, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, Nancy Ticotin, Madeleine Doherty, Tracy Jai Edwards, Mary Claire King, Lenora Nemetz, Kay Walbye, Alexander Aguilar, Ken Ard, Sydni Beaudoin, Tami Dahbura, Paula DeLuise, Gabriela Garcia, Talya Groves, Kathryn Kendall, Valton Jackson, Summerisa Bell Stevens, Garrett Turner and Gayle Turner.

Dori Berinstein and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Based on the motion picture Gotta Dance, directed, written and produced by Dori Berinstein, Half Time tells the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team., inspired by the true story of the New Jersey NETSational Seniors. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing-instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers-and the young coaches who inspire them along the way-as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game-it’s Half Time.

Matthew Sklar, Nancy Ticotin, Haven Burton and Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Nancy Ticotin, Haven Burton and Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Bob Martin and Matthew Sklar show off their Lights of Broadway Show Card. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Dori Berinstein with Original NETSational Sr. Dancers Betsy Walkup and Deana Schwartz. Photo by Lia Chang
Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Matthew Sklar and Nancy Ticotin. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Dori Berinstein. Photo by Lia Chang

Bob Martin and Matthew Sklar. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Nancy Ticotin, Haven Burton, Producer Dori Berinstein and Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Bob Martin. Photo by Lia Chang
Matthew Sklar. Photo by Lia Chang
Nancy Ticotin. Photo by Lia Chang
Haven Burton and Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Donna McKechnie and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Matthew Sklar, Nancy Ticotin and Donna McKechnie. Photo by Lia Chang
Nancy Ticotin and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Bob Martin, André De Shields and Matthew Sklar. Photo by Lia Chang
Haven Burton and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Lillias White. Photo by Lia Chang
Lillias White. Photo by Lia Chang
Taaj Jaharah and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

KING KONG’s Jon Hoche Joins David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER at The Public, September 24 – November 3

Jon Hoche. Photo by Lia Chang

Jon Hoche is a very funny man who is currently making his Broadway debut as the voice of King Kong and as a voodoo puppeteer who controls Kong’s head and neck motions in KING KONG: Alive on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre through August 18. Click here for tickets.

Last year, he appeared as Tony Manero and Chief Justice in Center Theatre Group’s world premiere of Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang (Book and Lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori’s (Music and Additional Lyrics) SOFT POWER at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. and the Curran in S.F.

Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz
Raymond J. Lee, Jaygee Macapugay, Austin Ku, Kendyl Ito and Jon Hoche in SOFT POWER. Photo Credit: Craig Schwartz

He will reprise his roles in The Public Theater’s New York premiere of SOFT POWER, September 24 – November 3 in a co-commission and co-production with CTG.

Seated: Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Kendyl Ito, Daniel May. Standing: Trevor Salter, Sam Pinkleton, Emily Stillings, Billy Bustamante, Kristen Faith Oei, Jon Hoche, Leigh Silverman, Austin Ku, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Maria-Christina Oliveras, David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang
Seated: Jeanine Tesori, Francis Jue, Kendyl Ito, Daniel May. Standing: Trevor Salter, Sam Pinkleton, Emily Stillings, Billy Bustamante, Kristen Faith Oei, Jon Hoche, Leigh Silverman, Austin Ku, Paul HeeSang Miller, Jaygee Macapugay, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Alyse Alan Louis, Raymond J. Lee, Maria-Christina Oliveras, David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. Hoche has appeared in the Off-Broadway productions of VIETGONE (Manhattan Theatre Club), SOUL SAMURAI, THE INEXPLICABLE REDEMPTION OF AGENT G (Ma-Yi Theater/ Vampire Cowboys Theater), HELLO, FROM THE CHILDREN OF PLANET EARTH (Playwright’s Realm). He toured across the U.S. in WAR HORSE (Puppet Captain) and appeared in the Two River Theater production of SEVEN LONELY MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND. Awards include the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show and a 2019 Outer Critics Circle Special Achievement Award for The Puppetry Team that created and operates King Kong on Broadway.

On making his Broadway debut…
Jon: It was really a dream come true. He’s literally the biggest leading man on Broadway, ha ha ha.

In all seriousness though, it really has been an amazing experience. When I was on the road with the National Tour of War Horse I became aware of the Australian production. The moment I saw the Puppet I made a promise to myself that when it came to Broadway I would be a part of it.

Jon Hoche. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What was your audition like for King Kong?
Jon: Initially I auditioned to be one of the King’s Company, the 10 members of the cast that move Kong’s limbs onstage. During the audition they glanced at my resume and saw my puppetry background and asked if I would return to audition for the VooDoo Puppeteer position. Some time went by and when they called me in I was asked to perform scenes as if I were Kong. So much like motion capture in the movies like Planet of the Apes or Kong: Skull Island I got on hands and feet and acting like a giant ape. I fought an imaginary Cobra, interacted with an invisible Ann Darrow in my cave, and fended off air planes on the top of the Empire Stage Building. All the while, grunting, growing, and roaring. This was important because later on during rehearsals I would do this very thing while working with Christiani Pitts (Ann Darrow) when we did not have access to our 20ft tall, 1.2 ton leading man.

Lia: What excites you about coming to work every night?
Jon: So many things. I think first and foremost, the cast and crew of this show are incredible. We’ve truly become a family. Another thing that excites me is the audience. I think this show has been a very special one because it has brought a wide ranging audience to broadway. If you keep an ear to the audience during intermission you can always hears different languages being spoken. One of the best comments I hear from people is that they’ve never thought about seeing a broadway show but they love King Kong so they had to come and loved it! My hope is that we are creating new Broadway fans on a nightly basis.

Warren Yang, Eric William Morris, Erik Lochtefeld, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei and Christiani Pitts. Photo by Lia Chang
Warren Yang, Eric William Morris, Erik Lochtefeld, Jon Hoche, Kristen Faith Oei and Christiani Pitts. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: I first became aware of your superb comedic flare in Vietgone. Can you share what it has been like to develop work with Qui and what is in the works?
Jon: Qui Nguyen is a badass. He’s an incredibly collaborative writer and I love bringing his words off the page. I think some playwrights have their go to actors, like David Mamet and William H. Macy. Well Qui and I have been working with each other for more than a decade now and I’d like to think I’m the William H. Macy to his David Mamet. Vietgone was such a personal story for Qui and it was an honor to be a part of the World Premiere at South Coast Rep and the Off Broadway Premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club. The sequel to it, Poor Yellow Rednecks, is coming out and although I don’t know if I can be a part of it, my fingers are crossed.

Jon Hoche, Samantha Quan, Paco Tolson and Raymond Lee. Photo by Carol Rosegg
Raymond Lee, Jon Hoche and Maureen Sebastian, in South Coast Repertory's 2015 world premiere of Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.
Raymond Lee, Jon Hoche and Maureen Sebastian, in South Coast Repertory’s 2015 world premiere of Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

Lia: You will be reprising your roles in David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER in the Fall at The Public. Tell me more about how you first got involved, and specifically about your featured song.
Jon: Back in 2017, right around the time Vietgone closed I got a message from David Henry Hwang if I was available for a table read of something he had been working on. That was Soft Power. Every other month or so I would get the opportunity to come back and workshop the new pages and see how the story was progressing. Every time I just thanked my lucky stars that I was still able to be in the room. It was so exciting. Eventually we moved into the first music workshop and not being predominately a singer I thought this might be where my journey with Soft Power would end, but I think David Henry Hwang, Jeanine Tesori and the director, Leigh Silverman saw more in me than even I did. All of a sudden I found myself at a piano with Jeanine Tesori handing me a song. I could have vomited from nervous excitement right then and there.

Jon Hoche describes the electoral college in SOFT POWER. Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography
Jon Hoche describes the electoral college in SOFT POWER. Photo by Craig Schwartz Photography

The song now called “Election Night” in the script is a comical patter song explaining the Electoral College to the main character and also the audience. I learned a lot about the Electoral College while singing this song. During our time performing the show in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the song seemed to be one of the crowd pleasers.

Lia: Where did you grow up?
Jon: I was born and raised in Roxbury, New Jersey, just a hop-skip-and NJ Transit ride from the city. I was blessed to have an incredible public school system where the fine arts were considered just as vital as sports and other subjects. I was the only boy in dance class, involved in choir, band, show choir, and marching band. I wouldn’t be where I am if not for the amazing teachers I had while going to Roxbury High School.

Lia: What was your first professional job?
Jon: Right after graduating from Montclair State University in NJ, I moved to New York and performed in American Globe Theater’s Shakespeare for School tour. We performed Othello to countless inner city schools all over the 5 boroughs New York. It was an immensely rewarding experience and something that I would continue to do for 2 more years after that.

Lia: What is your background in puppetry?
Jon: I auditioned for a show called Fight Girl/Battle World by Vampire Cowboys Theater Company (Co-created by Qui Nguyen) in 2007. This would mark my first experience working with Qui. At the first rehearsal I was told that my character was actually going to be a puppet for the first act. I simply said, “Okay, cool!” and took to it quite well. This was the first meeting with not only Qui but the puppet designer and now great friend, David Valentine, who has gone on to work for the Jim Henson Workshop. From that moment forward whenever Qui would script a new show he would always add a puppet element for me to perform and David to build. From small hand puppets to full body rapping monsters. It’s the experience I had with Vampire Cowboys which lead me to audition for the National Tour of War Horse where I would puppeteer life sized horses and one clownish Goose.

Jon Hoche. Photos © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
Jon Hoche in WAR HORSE. Photo © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Lia: What is on your wishlist?
Jon: To be honest on the top of my list is for SOFT POWER to transition to Broadway. It is an incredibly moving new musical that examines the power of Democracy and what it means to be American. It is a cast that is 99% Asian American and I want everyone to see it.

SOFT POWER at The Public

Hwang and Tesori’s groundbreaking new musical-within-a-play, SOFT POWER, one of the most exciting theatrical collaborations in recent memory, is an exploration of America’s current place in the world, told through an East-West musical from China’s point of view, in which a theater producer from Shanghai forges a powerful bond with Hillary Clinton. SOFT POWER is a fever dream of modern American politics amidst global conversations, asking us all-why do we love democracy? And should we?

Helmed by Leigh Silverman and featuring choreography by Sam Pinkleton, casting for SOFT POWER includes Billy Bustamante (Xue Xing Standby), Jon Hoche (Tony Manero/Chief Justice/Ensemble), Kendyl Ito (Jing/Ensemble), Francis Jue (DHH), Austin Ku (Bobby Bob), Raymond J. Lee (Randy Ray/VEEP/Ensemble), Alyse Alan Louis (Zoe/Hillary), Jaygee Macapugay (Campaign Manager/Ensemble), Daniel May (Ensemble), Paul HeeSang Miller (Ensemble), Kristen Faith Oei (Ensemble), Geena Quintos (Ensemble), Conrad Ricamora (Xue Xing), Trevor Salter (Ensemble), Kyra Smith (Ensemble), Emily Stillings (Female Swing), Emily Trumble (Zoe/Hillary Understudy), and John Yi (Male Swing).

Click here for tickets to SOFT POWER.

Sneak Peek of CTG’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s SOFT POWER

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

LOVE IN HATE NATION by Tony Award Nominee Joe Iconis, Set for World Premiere at Two River Theater, November 9 – December 1

Joe Iconis and Lauren Marcus. Photo by Lia Chang

Two River Theater is presenting the  world-premiere production of Love in Hate Nation, an original musical with music, lyrics and book by Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis, directed by John Simpkins.

The cast of Love in Hate Nation includes Sydney Farley (Gloria “Ya Ya” Meeks), Amina Faye (Susannah Son), Jasmine Forsberg (Brenda “Rat” Ratowski), Lauren Marcus (Miss Asp), Kelly McIntyre (Sheila Nail), Lena Skeele (Dorothy Donaldson), Emerson Smith (Kitty Minx), Ryan Vona (The Guy) and Tatiana Wechsler (Judith Ramone).

Performances will begin in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, November 9 and continue through Sunday, December 1. The opening night performance is Friday, November 15 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org.

A turbulent rock romance set in a 1960s Juvie Hall, Love in Hate Nation uses classic “bad girl” movies as the inspiration for the story of young people caught between eras of a changing America. Sixteen-year old Susannah Son is carted off to the National Reformatory for Girls to get her head put on straight. There she meets the aggressively incorrigible Sheila Nail, and a relationship forms which leads to an all-out “revolution in the institution” as they attempt to break out of the boxes society has created around them. Girl Group Wall of Sound harmonies are filtered through a punk rock spirit in this rebellious and romantic new musical.

Love in Hate Nation has orchestrations and music supervision by Charlie Rosen, music direction by Geraldine Anello, and choreography by Mayte Natalio.

The design team includes scenic designer Meredith Reis, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Jen Schriever, and sound designer Palmer Hefferan. The casting is by Rachel Hoffman, CSA and the production stage manager is Amanda Michaels.

Joe Iconis is the Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist of the worldwide sensation Be More Chill. Iconis and Joe Tracz wrote Be More Chill as a commission for Two River Theater, where the show was developed and premiered in 2015 before going on to sold-out Off-Broadway and Broadway runs. Director John Simpkins previously directed Bloodsong of Love and The Black Suits by Joe Iconis. He is Head of Musical Theatre at Penn State School of Theatre, where Love in Hate Nation was commissioned and developed.

Ticket prices range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $25 tickets are available for every performance; $25 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $25 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from tworivertheater.org or 732.345.1400.

In Rehearsal with Joshua Turchin’s THE PERFECT FIT; Opens in Rave Theater Festival at Teatro LaTea on August 11

Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Carlos Carreras, Joshua Turchin, Zoe Manarel, Grace DeAmicis, Swayam Bhatia, Courtney Faith Mormino, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang

Perfectly Theatrical, LLC is presenting the world premiere of The Perfect Fit, a new family musical featuring book, music and lyrics by twelve-year-old musical sensation Joshua Turchin (The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film, Forbidden Broadway Salutes Carol Channing, A Christmas Story National Tour, TrevorLive, The Pill), as a staged developmental production in the Rave Theater Festival, August 11 – 23. The production begins performances on Sunday, August 11th and  is currently soldout, but you can email TPFwaitlist@gmail.com to be put on the waitlist.

Carly Gendell, Avelina Sanchez and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Broadway veteran Garth Kravits (Drowsy Chaperone, Gettin’ the Band Back Together), The Perfect Fit will run at the Teatro LaTea Theater, at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor.

Grace DeAmicis, Joshua Turchin, Swayam Bhatia and director Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to Turchin, the cast of The Perfect Fit includes Natalie Venetia Belcon (Rent, Avenue Q, Matilda, Once On This Island  Broadway National Tour), Julia Haubner (Les Miserables), Swayam Bhatia (“Really Rosie,” “Succession” (HBO), J.R. Bruno (West Side Story, Book of Mormon), Carlos Orlando Carreras (On Your Feet Broadway National Tour), Grace DeAmicis (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Daniel Dunlow (Finian’s Rainbow-Irish Repertory Theatre, The Songs of Lerner and Loewe), Malcolm Durning, Carly Gendell (School of Rock), Areo Keller, Zoe Manarel (Matilda, The Dangerous Book for Boys, An American Girl Story: Friends for Life), Jenny Mollet (The Color Purple), Courtney Faith Mormino, Avelina Sanchez (Corner of Bitter and Sweet) and Ian Saraceni (The King and I, Matilda).

Director Garth Kravits and the company of THE PERFECT FIT. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit follows Alexandra, an ambitious teen actor with a powerful voice who grows concerned that she is getting too old to play a child and too young to play an adult. While auditioning for a dynamic musical, Alexandra is sabotaged by a vindictive stage parent who would do anything for her daughter to succeed. Through the love and support of her mom, sister and friends, she learns how to move past the experience. The Perfect Fit spotlights that hard work often includes twists & turn and ups & downs, but rewards in unexpected ways.

Zoe Manarel as Alexandra. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit features choreography by Anna Noble (Carousel, The Flamingo Kid, After Midnight), Stage Management by Ritchard Druther (Heathers, A Christmas Story National Tour, Radio City Christmas Spectacular), scenic/costume design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith; sound design by Nina Luther and casting by Arnold J. Mungioli, CSA, Mungioli Theatricals, Inc. The Music Director is Steven Cuevas (Once On This Island, Anastasia, Kinky Boots); Music Supervisor is Eric Fotre Leach (Come From Away); Vocal Supervisor is Julia Mendelsohn.

Zoe Manarel, Avelina Sanchez and Swayam Bhatia. Photo by Lia Chang

Rave Theater Festival’s inaugural year will feature 20 new shows from across the country and internationally. The festival will run August 9-25th at Teatro SEA and Teatro LaTea Theatres at The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk Street, New York, NY 10002). Spearheaded by Tony Award-winning Broadway Producer, Ken Davenport, the festival aims to provide theatre-makers with an outlet to get their shows up on a New York stage.

Director Garth Kravits and Natalie Venetia Belcon. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances of The Perfect Fit are on Sunday 8/11 at 4pm; Monday 8/12 at 6pm; Sunday 8/18 at 1:30pm; Monday 8/19 at 4pm; Friday 8/23 at 7pm. The running time is approximately 110 minutes with no intermission. The show is recommended for children 4 and older. Tickets are $25-$35 and can be purchased online. The production is currently sold-out but you can email TPFwaitlist@gmail.com to be put on the waitlist.

Grace DeAmicis, Swayam Bhatia and director Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Grace DeAmicis, Swayam Bhatia and director Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni and Zoe Manarel. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel and Swayam Bhatia. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel, Swayam Bhatia, Director Garth Kravits, Grace DeAmicis and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin and Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel, Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmicis and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel, Director Garth Kravits and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel Dunlow and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Malcolm Durning, Jenny Mollet and J.R. Bruno. Photo by Lia Chang
Malcolm Durning, Garth Kravits, Jenny Mollet and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
J.R. Bruno. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel and Natalie Venetia Belcon. Photo by Lia Chang
Julia Haubner and Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, J.R. Bruno and Carlos Carreras. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel and Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni and Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Choreographer Anna Noble, Ian Saraceni and Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Choreographer Anna Noble and Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni and Choreographer Anna Noble. Photo by Lia Chang
Malcolm Durning, Daniel Dunlow and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Malcolm Durning, Director Garth Kravits, Zoe Manarel, J.R. Bruno, Anna Noble, Carly Gendell and Daniel Dunlow. Photo by Lia Chang
Choreographer Anna Noble and Director Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Carly Gendell and Carlos Carreras. Photo by Lia Chang
Julia Haubner and Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Carlos Carreras, J.R. Bruno, Director Garth Kravits and Courtney Mormino. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell and Julia Haubner. Photo by Lia Chang
Courtney Mormino, Avelina Sanchez and Jenny Mollet. Photo by Lia Chang
Courtney Mormino, Joshua Turchin and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez and Director Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras, Grace DeAmici, Courtney Mormino, Zoe Manarel, Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Zoe Manarel, Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras and Director Garth Kravits, Anna Noble. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras. Photo by Lia Chang
Courtney Mormino, Avelina Sanchez and Ian Saraceni. Photo by Lia Chang
Carlos Carreras, J.R. Bruno, Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmici, Avelina Sanchez, Jenny Mollet and Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit is produced by Perfectly Theatrical, LLC, whose team has invested in Hadestown, Be More Chill, The Secret Garden, On The Town, Rock Of Ages UK, Tuck Everlasting, On Your Feet UK, and more.

Garth Kravits and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Joshua Turchin (book, music & lyrics) is a 12-year-old actor, singer, composer, musician, music director, accompanist, and dancer. He plays more than 10 instruments, including piano, drums, guitar and ukulele. Most recently, he performed as Flounder in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film at The Hollywood Bowl, and at Trevor LIVE LA as Trevor from Trevor the Musical (Beverly Hilton). Other professional credits include Forbidden Broadway (Young Gerard), two Broadway National Tours of A Christmas Story the Musical (Randy and u/s Ralphie, Swing), Caroline or Change @ Tantrum Theater (Noah), The Pill @ LaMaMa (Young Philip), School of Rock (Broadway Promo Team) and recently worked on the developmental lab of a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Unmasked. He is a regular comedy personality heard throughout the US on iHeartRadio, and his voice has been heard throughout the world on various animated series and commercials including Nick Jr., and several Broadway cast recordings and developmental works, including the upcoming movie-musical, 13 Going On 30. He is the host and creator of The Early Night Show With Joshua Turchin (@theearlynightshow), founder of Broadway Kids Jam, and musical director, accompanist and host of the (YOUNG) Broadway Series at The Green Room 42, and Switched at 54 Below.

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits (director) is a Broadway actor, director, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, composer and musician. Kravits was last seen on Broadway in Gettin’ the Band Back Together and the original cast of the Tony Award-winning show The Drowsy Chaperone, and Off-Broadway in Smart Blonde, Old Jews Telling Jokes and The Wild Party. He has guest-starred on the television shows “30 Rock” (NBC), “Divorce” (HBO), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (AmazonPrime), “Mr. Robot” (USA) and “Happy!” (SyFy). Kravits has written and directed dozens of short films and his award-winning film “Hide and Seek” has played in 10 festivals around the globe.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Dale Minami to Receive the 2019 ABA Medal, The Association’s Highest Honor on August 10

Dale Minami

The American Bar Association will honor Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami, a lifelong champion of the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans and other people of color, with the ABA Medal — the association’s highest honor — during the ABA Annual Meeting, August 8 to 13, 2019, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

The ABA Medal presentation will take place on August 10, 2019, during the General Assembly and Presentation of the ABA Medal from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Salon 9, Lower B2 Level.

Minami is best known for leading the legal team that overturned the conviction of Fred Korematsu, an American of Japanese descent who was arrested for refusing to enter an incarceration center in 1942. Korematsu’s case led to the historic challenge of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II in the case Korematsu v. United States.

The ABA Medal recognizes exceptionally distinguished service by a lawyer or lawyers to the cause of American jurisprudence. Previous recipients of the ABA Medal include: Bryan A. Stevenson (2018), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2010), and Justice Thurgood Marshall (1992).

Minami is the first Asian American to receive the award in its 90-year history.

“Dale Minami has devoted a lifetime to breaking down stereotypes and advocating for Asian Pacific Americans,” ABA President Bob Carlson said. “His work in overturning Korematsu is legal legend, but it is just one of many instances in his career where he has fought for the protection of the rights of people who have been discriminated against. His determination and commitment to the rule of law has resulted in countless people receiving justice.”

Minami was key to obtaining judicial recognition that the evacuation and incarceration of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II was unjust and illegal. Although the Supreme Court in 1944 upheld the constitutionality of the incarceration in Korematsu v. United States, Minami and his team successfully challenged that ruling 40 years later.

With documents discovered in 1981 from the National Archives that demonstrated that government officials knowingly used false evidence to justify its exclusion order, Minami assembled the legal team that petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to vacate the conviction of Korematsu and was the Coordinating Attorney initially for two other challenges to the military orders filed by Minoru Yasui in Portland and Gordon Hirabayashi in Seattle. Serving as lead counsel for Korematsu in 1983, Minami and his team prevailed in voiding the conviction while the legal teams for Hirabayashi and Yasui overturned their convictions in separate cases.

In 2017, Minami and other attorneys from the Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui legal teams joined the legal team led by the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and Akin Gump LLP, representing the adult children of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court review of the government’s travel ban, which resulted in the Supreme Court’s explicit repudiation of the 1944 Korematsu decision via its review of Trump v. Hawaii.

“As an attorney in a small minority-owned law firm, I was a bit surprised when Bob Carlson, the president of the ABA, even called me, then astonished when he informed me that I was chosen as the ABA Medal recipient,” Minami said. “Given the list of illustrious past awardees, I now just think it is surreal, yet still a testament to the ABA’s recognition of Asian Pacific American attorneys as integral members of the ABA and legal profession. I am grateful.”

Elizabeth Ward Land Set for Encore Performance Of STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE: THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT At Green Room 42 on September 27

Broadway veteran Elizabeth Ward Land (AMAZING GRACE, MEMPHIS, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL) has announced a return engagement of her show STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE: THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT for Friday, September 27, 2019 at 7pm at The Green Room 42.

Elizabeth Ward Land. Photo by Lia Chang

Touching on genres ranging from rock, country, folk, light opera, big band and mariachi, Elizabeth Ward Land finds her perfect vocal match in this salute to the great Linda Ronstadt. Tracing her life to the songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers vast catalogue, including YOU’RE NO GOOD, BLUE BAYOU, FRENESI, and LONG, LONG TIME, the evening promises something for every music lover. Featuring special guests Catherine Porter (NEXT TO NORMAL) and Joel Waggoner (BE MORE CHILL), the show is directed by Alan Muraoka (Sesame Street), with music supervision and arrangements by Andrew David Sotomayor (CURVY WIDOW) and vocal arrangements by Joel Waggoner.

Tickets are $20- $60. wwwTheGreenRoom42.com

Elizabeth Ward Land, Joel Waggoner, Catherine Porter. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Ward Land is known for her versatility across the entertainment industry. Her Broadway and tour credits include AMAZING GRACE, MEMPHIS, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, PASSION, CITY OF ANGELS, LES MISERABLES, THE MUSIC OF Andrew Lloyd Webber, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG and SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Off-Broadway, she was seen in CURVY WIDOW, SOUTHERN COMFORT, THE GREEN HEART and HELLO AGAIN. She has starred at many of the nations finest regional theaters, including The Old Globe, Pasadena Playhouse, The Alliance and GeVa. Film/TV: YOUNG ADULT, BOY MEETS GIRL, THE GATHERING; THE GOOD FIGHT, ELEMENTARY, THE BLACKLIST, BOARDWALK EMPIRE and MADAM SECRETARY. Her acclaimed debut CD, FIRST HARVEST, released by LMLMusic is available on ITunes. She is married to actor Ken Land; plays oboe, piano, guitar, and loves cats. www.ElizabethWardLand.com

Joshua Turchin’s THE PERFECT FIT, Directed by Garth Kravits, to Enjoy Soldout World Premiere in Rave Theater Festival at Teatro LaTea Theater, August 11 -23

Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Carlos Carreras, Joshua Turchin, Zoe Manarel, Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmicis, Courtney Mormino, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni, Carlos Carreras, Joshua Turchin, Zoe Manarel, Swayam Bhatia, Grace DeAmicis, Courtney Mormino, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang

Perfectly Theatrical, LLC is presenting the world premiere of The Perfect Fit, a new family musical featuring book, music and lyrics by twelve-year-old musical sensation Joshua Turchin (The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film, Forbidden Broadway Salutes Carol Channing, A Christmas Story National Tour, TrevorLive, The Pill), as a staged developmental production in the Rave Theater Festival, August 11 – 23. The production is currently soldout but you can email TPFwaitlist@gmail.com to be put on the waitlist.

Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras, Garth Kravits, Courtney Mormino, Swayam Bhatia, Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang
Joshua Turchin, Carlos Carreras, Garth Kravits, Courtney Mormino, Swayam Bhatia, Avelina Sanchez. Photo by Lia Chang

Directed by Broadway veteran Garth Kravits (Drowsy Chaperone, Gettin’ the Band Back Together), The Perfect Fit will run at the Teatro LaTea Theater, at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street, 2nd Floor.

Avelina Sanchez, Ian Saraceni Carlos Carreras, Joshua Turchin, Zoe Manarel, Grace DeAmicis, Swayam Bhatia, Courtney Faith Mormino, Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to Turchin, the cast of The Perfect Fit includes Natalie Venetia Belcon (Rent, Avenue Q, Matilda, Once On This Island  Broadway National Tour), Julia Haubner (Les Miserables), Swayam Bhatia (“Really Rosie,” “Succession” (HBO), J.R. Bruno (West Side Story, Book of Mormon), Carlos Orlando Carreras (On Your Feet Broadway National Tour), Grace DeAmicis (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Daniel Dunlow (Finian’s Rainbow-Irish Repertory Theatre, The Songs of Lerner and Loewe), Malcolm Durning, Carly Gendell (School of Rock), Areo Keller, Zoe Manarel (Matilda, The Dangerous Book for Boys, An American Girl Story: Friends for Life), Jenny Mollet (The Color Purple), Courtney Faith Mormino, Avelina Sanchez (Corner of Bitter and Sweet) and Ian Saraceni (The King and I, Matilda).

The Company of THE PERFECT FIT. Photo by Lia Chang
The Company of THE PERFECT FIT. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit follows Alexandra, an ambitious teen actor with a powerful voice who grows concerned that she is getting too old to play a child and too young to play an adult. While auditioning for a dynamic musical, Alexandra is sabotaged by a vindictive stage parent who would do anything for her daughter to succeed. Through the love and support of her mom, sister and friends, she learns how to move past the experience. The Perfect Fit spotlights that hard work often includes twists & turn and ups & downs, but rewards in unexpected ways.

Jenny Mollet, JR Bruno, Julia Haubner, Malcolm Durning, Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang
Jenny Mollet, JR Bruno, Julia Haubner, Malcolm Durning, Areo Keller. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit features choreography by Anna Noble (Carousel, The Flamingo Kid, After Midnight), Stage Management by Ritchard Druther (Heathers, A Christmas Story National Tour, Radio City Christmas Spectacular), scenic/costume design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith; sound design by Nina Luther and casting by Arnold J. Mungioli, CSA, Mungioli Theatricals, Inc. The Music Director is Steven Cuevas (Once On This Island, Anastasia, Kinky Boots); Music Supervisor is Eric Fotre Leach (Come From Away); Vocal Supervisor is Julia Mendelsohn.

Ian Saraceni, Zoe Manarel, Daniel Dunlow, Carly Gendell, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Grace DeAmicis, Anna Noble, Courtney Mormino, Sway Bhatia. Photo by Lia Chang
Ian Saraceni, Zoe Manarel, Daniel Dunlow, Carly Gendell, Avelina Sanchez, Joshua Turchin, Grace DeAmicis, Anna Noble, Courtney Mormino, Sway Bhatia. Photo by Lia Chang

Rave Theater Festival’s inaugural year will feature 20 new shows from across the country and internationally. The festival will run August 9-25th at Teatro SEA and Teatro LaTea Theatres at The Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center (107 Suffolk Street, New York, NY 10002). Spearheaded by Tony Award-winning Broadway Producer, Ken Davenport, the festival aims to provide theatre-makers with an outlet to get their shows up on a New York stage.

Zoe Manarel, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel, Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Performances of The Perfect Fit are on Sunday 8/11 at 4pm; Monday 8/12 at 6pm; Sunday 8/18 at 1:30pm; Monday 8/19 at 4pm; Friday 8/23 at 7pm. The running time is approximately 110 minutes with no intermission. The show is recommended for children 4 and older. Tickets are $25-$35 and can be purchased online. The production is currently sold-out but you can email TPFwaitlist@gmail.com to be put on the waitlist.

Jenny Mollet, Natalie Venetia Belcon. Photo by Lia Chang
Jenny Mollet, Natalie Venetia Belcon. Photo by Lia Chang

The Perfect Fit is produced by Perfectly Theatrical, LLC, whose team has invested in Hadestown, Be More Chill, The Secret Garden, On The Town, Rock Of Ages UK, Tuck Everlasting, On Your Feet UK, and more.

Zoe Manarel, Carlos Carreras, Courtney Mormino, JR Bruno, Daniel Dunlow, Ian Saraceni. Photo by Lia Chang
Zoe Manarel, Carlos Carreras, Courtney Mormino, JR Bruno, Daniel Dunlow, Ian Saraceni. Photo by Lia Chang
JR Bruno, Carlos Carreras, Avelina Sanchez, Jenny Mollet, Ian Saraceni, Malcolm Durning, Areo Keller, Courtney Mormino. Photo by Lia Chang
JR Bruno, Carlos Carreras, Avelina Sanchez, Jenny Mollet, Ian Saraceni, Malcolm Durning, Areo Keller, Courtney Mormino. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Swayam Bhatia, Zoe Manarel, Joshua Turchin, Grace DeAmicis, Courtney Mormino, Ian Saraceni, Garth Kravits at the piano. Photo by Lia Chang
Avelina Sanchez, Swayam Bhatia, Zoe Manarel, Joshua Turchin, Grace DeAmicis, Courtney Mormino, Ian Saraceni, Garth Kravits at the piano. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Carly Gendell. Photo by Lia Chang
Garth Kravits and Joshua Turchin. Photo by Lia Chang

Joshua Turchin (book, music & lyrics) is a 12-year-old actor, singer, composer, musician, music director, accompanist, and dancer. He plays more than 10 instruments, including piano, drums, guitar and ukulele. Most recently, he performed as Flounder in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live-To-Film at The Hollywood Bowl, and at Trevor LIVE LA as Trevor from Trevor the Musical (Beverly Hilton). Other professional credits include Forbidden Broadway (Young Gerard), two Broadway National Tours of A Christmas Story the Musical (Randy and u/s Ralphie, Swing), Caroline or Change @ Tantrum Theater (Noah), The Pill @ LaMaMa (Young Philip), School of Rock (Broadway Promo Team) and recently worked on the developmental lab of a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, Unmasked. He is a regular comedy personality heard throughout the US on iHeartRadio, and his voice has been heard throughout the world on various animated series and commercials including Nick Jr., and several Broadway cast recordings and developmental works, including the upcoming movie-musical, 13 Going On 30. He is the host and creator of The Early Night Show With Joshua Turchin (@theearlynightshow), founder of Broadway Kids Jam, and musical director, accompanist and host of the (YOUNG) Broadway Series at The Green Room 42, and Switched at 54 Below.

Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Garth Kravits (director) is a Broadway actor, director, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, composer and musician. Kravits was last seen on Broadway in Gettin’ the Band Back Together and the original cast of the Tony Award-winning show The Drowsy Chaperone, and Off-Broadway in Smart Blonde, Old Jews Telling Jokes and The Wild Party. He has guest-starred on the television shows “30 Rock” (NBC), “Divorce” (HBO), “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (AmazonPrime), “Mr. Robot” (USA) and “Happy!” (SyFy). Kravits has written and directed dozens of short films and his award-winning film “Hide and Seek” has played in 10 festivals around the globe.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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